The final stages of terminal illness are a very difficult time for both the patient and their loved ones, but hospice care aims to ease the stress and discomfort as much as possible. At the heart of hospice care is the belief that each person has the right to die pain-free and with dignity. In many cases, care is provided in the patient’s home with a loved one serving as the primary caregiver.
Along with physician services to attend to a patient’s medical needs, the skills and caring of a knowledgeable compounding pharmacist may be necessary to provide symptom control and pain relief in an end-of-life situation.
Pharmacists play a major role in the hospice environment, as caring for the hospice patient generally centers around providing comfort by using pharmaceuticals to relieve and manage symptoms. Pharmacy compounding can offer a practical and compassionate way to meet these needs. Compounding is the art and science of preparing customized medications, and it is especially suited to the concept of providing personalized, individual care to a dying patient.